Guide To Visiting Lava Tree State Park

If you’re looking for an unforgettable outdoor experience, look no further than Lava Tree State Park on the Big Island of Hawaii. This park is home to some of the world’s most unique and awe-inspiring landscapes, including towering lava trees and otherworldly volcanic formations. The numerous trails, overlooks, and other attractions make this a perfect spot for exploring the park’s raw beauty. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about visiting Lava Tree State Park, from directions to tips on what to bring with you!

The History Of Lava Tree State Park

Lava Tree State Park

Located just outside Pahoa, Lava Tree State Park is one of the world’s most beautiful and rare parks. It offers spectacular ocean views and an abundance of tropical plants and flowers and provides a unique glimpse into the area’s history. Formed over two centuries ago, in 1790, the creation of this natural wonder is a remarkable story. 

Molten lava from Kilauea’s eruption poured forth and engulfed this rainforest with pahoehoe (smooth) lava reaching an astonishing 10 feet deep. The scorching hot flow swiftly surrounded ohia trees in its path, trapping them within a hardened shell as it slowly cooled on the surface while incinerating the inside of each tree. This left behind an unforgettable memorial of these ancient giants. 

These lava trees stand today as historical monuments to this incredible event. Lava Tree State Park is a unique experience that enables guests to connect with nature while they learn about this powerful natural phenomenon.

What You Need For Your Trip

Lava Tree State Park

When planning a trip to the stunning and serene Lava Tree State Park, you’ll need a few items to ensure your time there is safe and enjoyable. First and foremost, during the rainy season (March-August), you must bring appropriate clothing, such as a rain jacket and rubber-soled shoes, to navigate the trail safely. Additionally, it’s always best to bring plenty of water since dehydration can sneak up quickly on gorgeously sunny days–not to mention all the energy trails like this one require!

Lastly, if you plan on taking photographs of the incredible lava trees or other features, bring a camera with extra batteries and memory cards. The views here are unparalleled, so you won’t want to miss out on getting some great shots!

Things To Do When Visiting Lava Tree State Park

Once you have your gear all packed and ready, your next step is to decide what you want to do while in the park. As mentioned earlier, Lava Tree State Park is full of incredible sights and natural features that you won’t find anywhere else. So here are a few of the different things you can do on your visit:

Walk The Lava Tree Trail

Lava Tree State Park

A stroll along the Lava Tree Trail is a unique experience. This trail meanders through some of the most remarkable natural landscapes one can find as visitors traverse lava from the old flow. Along the way, you will observe a variety of flora and fauna endemic to this region, offering insight into the diversity of plants and wildlife that thrive here.

Moreover, no two visits to the tree “where nature writes her own stories” are ever alike —each trip reveals something new regarding the interconnectivity between man and nature. Whether rock formations or lush vegetation catches your eye, embarking on this 0.7-mile loop is sure to provide unique moments worth savoring.

Have A Picnic

Lava Tree State Park

Lava Tree State Park is also a unique and beautiful place to have a picnic and take in the sights. Whether it’s a picnic with your family or friends, this is an excellent way to enjoy the natural beauty while spending time with your loved ones. The park offers plenty of picnic tables and scenic locations so that you can pick the perfect spot for your group.

While it does not offer any places to barbecue, visitors are still welcome to bring food for a relaxing and enjoyable picnic experience. Remember to take all your trash with you when you leave, and never feed the wildlife!


Lava Tree State Park

Adventurers looking for a more peaceful activity will love bird-watching at Lava Tree State Park. The park provides various species of birds for visitors to observe, ranging from the nene (Hawaii’s state bird) to the wild turkey. There are also a variety of migratory birds that call this place home during certain times of the year.

For those looking to capture some photos of these feathered friends, the park has plenty of trees and shrubbery to provide adequate cover while you take aim. By taking a little extra time to keep still and quiet in the right spots, visitors can observe and photograph different bird species they wouldn’t have seen otherwise!

Stops To Make Near The Park

Once you have spent some time exploring Lava Tree State Park, there are a few other places nearby that you might want to check out. Some of which can enrich your experience even further. Not to mention, these spots will help fill your day in the area:

Pahoa Lava Zone Museum

Lava Tree State Park

If you want to continue your lava-themed day, the Pahoa Lava Zone Museum is a great place to do just that. This museum offers visitors an in-depth look at what life was like during the eruption of Kilauea, also known as “The Great Eruption of 2018”. The museum showcases over 160 artifacts and photographs that tell the story of how the eruption affected the people. It is located just up the road from the park in Pahoa.

Kehena Black Sand Beach

Lava Tree State Park

A quick drive to the coast from the park, Kehena Black Sand Beach is a hidden gem of the Big Island. This secluded beach offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and is a perfect spot to catch some sun or dip in the water. Be sure to bring your camera, as Kehena offers incredible photo opportunities with its black sand shoreline and rocky outcrops!

Kaleo’s Bar & Grill

Lava Tree State Park

Then once you have worked up an appetite after a day of adventure, head to Kaleo’s Bar & Grill for some delicious local cuisine. They offer fresh seafood dishes, classic comfort food, and an extensive selection of craft beers and signature cocktails. This vibrant and friendly spot is always packed with locals enjoying some of the best food on the island.

Visiting Lava Tree State Park Is A Unique Experience!

As you can see, visiting Lava Tree State Park has a lot to offer visitors. From the unique sights and sounds of nature to various activities, there is something for everyone. Whether you are looking to take in the beauty of Hawaii or get away from it all, Lava Tree State Park is the perfect spot. With its peaceful atmosphere and ample opportunities for exploration and relaxation, a visit here is sure to be memorable. So see what this scenic park has to offer!

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